“GRAMMY” AWARDED TO FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR

In ceremonies on Thursday evening, March 20, Professor Tom Smith, a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Romania and Visiting Professor at the National University of Music, was awarded the “National Music Award,” the Romanian equivalent of the American “Grammy Award,” by the Romanian National Radio. This was the first year that a National Music Award was given in the category of jazz, adding special significance to the fact that Smith is the first American ever to receive the prestigious and coveted award. During the award ceremonies, which were broadcast countrywide on Romanian National Radio, Professor Smith conducted the National Radio Big Band and performed several trombone pieces himself.

Smith’s award and the National Radio Big Band performance were widely covered in the Romanian press. Both in his teaching activities at the National University of Music, Romania’s premier center for music and
musicological studies, and with his more than twenty major concerts for national television and radio in the last six months, Smith has caused quite a splash on the jazz and entertainment scene in Romania. Smith is a Professor and the Director of Instrumental Music at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina.


Most Rev. Dr. Chrysostomos
Executive Director
U.S. Fulbright Commission in Romania
Str. Ing. Nicolae Costinescu, Nr. 2
71277 Bucharest, Sector 1, Romania

commission-related e-mail: director@fulbright.kappa.ro
commission website: www.usembassy.ro

private/personal e-mail: directorprivate@from.ro

SUCCESSFUL EVENING OF AMERICAN JAZZ

Senior Fulbright Scholar, jazz conductor and performer Tom Smith had a very successful JAZZ CONCERT – with the NATIONAL RADIO BIG BAND of Romania (as a tribute to Bucharest native Peter Herbolzheimer). The performance included pieces by: Ch.Parker, D.Gillespie, N.Washington, P.Herbolzheimer a.o.The event took place at the Grand Concert Hall of the Romanian RAdio Broadcast, on Tuesday, Feb.18. The concert was broadcast live on the Romanian National Radio Broadcast and was also recorded.Thought has been given to produce a CD following this concert. As a conductor as well as trombone soloist, Tom Smith was rewarded with standing ovation by the general public, as well as by the members of the big band itself, on stage.

The audiences in Romania (where jazz music has big numbers of fans in a category of highly educated people, of all generations) have had a chance to enjoy a number of concerts for the past months due to Professor Tom Smith, while he has been in this country as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. Tom’s performances have been just superb – as a conductor of the music student’s big band of the the Bucharest National University of Music as well as in cooperation with the NAtional Radio Broadcast jazz musicians, and others. Tom Smith has brought a standard of performance to these groups,which is indeed admirable.

Let it be said that, like on several previous occasions, Tom Smith was introduced, at the concert on Feb.18, by Romania’s most prominent expert in and presenter of jazz – Florian Lungu, who has revealed the accomplishment and top-level qualities of this American jazz performer, conductor and professor, Tom Smith, and repeatedly emphasized te privilege that Romanian conservatory students, professional jazz performers and lovers of jazz have, due to Tom Smith’s activity in Romania as a Fulbright senior scholar, for a whole academic year. It was Florian Lungu who has also contributed reviews in some of Romania’s newspapers – e.g. in a very popular daily, Curentul, on Tom Smith’s successful activities in Romania and the broad impact he has, the difference that he makes.

It should be added that Tom Smith not only brings home among Romanians an idea about American jazz quality in a most direct, tangible way, through rigorous training (and not just by hear-say and recorded music), but he does his best to teach and inspire in the sense of instoring principles of discipline and cooperation which are the expected behaviour in the US. He has a very special involvement in this sense, trying to bring over a full awareness of principles of professional /-artistic/action to Romania, a country of considerable richness from a cultural poin t of view,as well as richness of talent – but which still has a way to go, in order to recover from effects of a long isolation. There is certainly a cultural difference between a Latin world and an Anglo-Saxon one – in general: the passionate and high-quality artist in Tom Smith makes him a very productive bridge in a profound Fulbright spirit.

CONSERVATORY BIG BAND IMPRESSES

This past Wednesday, a capacity audience crowded into George Enescu Hall, at the National University in Bucharest, to hear the latest performance of that school’s jazz big band. In a very short time, this remarkable twenty-two member ensemble has staked its claim as one of the premier collegiate jazz bands not only in Eastern Europe, but on the entire continent. Currently led by American Fulbright Scholar Tom Smith, this still new band enthralled audiences with its effortless readings of American music composed by Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker and Pat Metheney.

Special mention should be made of the band’s outstanding soloists, including: saxophonists Alex Simu, Cataleen Milea, Bucharest legend Cristian Soleneu, at age thiry-five the oldest first year student in conservatory history,trumpeters Sebastian Borneche and George Moise, guitarist George Dimitriu, and the phenomenal young pianist Peitru Popa. In fact the ensemble featured a total of twelve soloists, all of whom could play with most of the professional big bands still in business today.

Among the highlights were the parade of soloists on Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments, Soleanu’s agile chord navigation of the Charlie Parker classic Scrapple From the Apple, and Borneche’s sensitive rendering of Pete Wehner’s arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight. The concert closed with a solo free for all, on the upbeat This is Not for You, maybe the funkiest big band arrangement ever conceived. The very happy crowd did not walk away from Enescu Hall. They were blown away. Continued congratulations to Tom Smith and the boys at the National University of Music Big Band, and continued thanks to the American Fulbright Scholar Program for making his residency, and that of his jazz predecessor Rick Condit’s possible. Smith’s once ambitious discussions of a National Big Band now appear to be real, with a complete reading of Carla Bley’s suite Birds of Paradise, already in the works. Jazz fans in Bucharest can hardly wait.

FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR PERFORMS ON TVR TIMISOARA

Continuing a tradition initiated by 2002 Fulbright Scholar Rick Condit, Senior Fulbright Scholar Tom Smith was the featured musical performer at the International Youth Theater Festival in Arad, Romania. Smith performed a two-hour jazz concert for a capacity audience on Tuesday April 29, accompanied by a local jazz trio led by Timisoara pianist Tony Kuhn. Smith’s thirteen-year- old son Matt also performed a featured composition. The younger Smith, a rapidly developing percussionist, has been seen recently in the company of adult Bucharest musicians, and in the words of his father “is much improved.” The program was broadcast live on TVR Timisoara. Following the concert, Professor Smith was the subject of an extensive interview with Romanian Cable News.


Most Rev. Dr. Chrysostomos
Executive Director
U.S. Fulbright Commission in Romania
Str. Ing. Nicolae Costinescu, Nr. 2
71277 Bucharest, Sector 1, Romania

commission-related e-mail: director@fulbright.kappa.ro
commission website: www.usembassy.ro

private/personal e-mail: directorprivate@from.ro
private/personal telephone: (40/21) 211-7869

“The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy — the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something that we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately.” Senator J. William Fulbright

FULBRIGHTERS HONORED BY UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST

In ceremonies held on Wednesday, May 29, two Senior Fulbright Scholars were honored for their significant contributions to the Department of American Studies at the University of Bucharest. Dr. Victoria Seitz, an economics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Mr. Tom Smith, Director of Instrumental Music at Pfeiffer University were presented gifts by department director Rodica Mihalea for “significantly enhancing the lives of students by contributing far more than what was required.” Dr. Seitz was recognized for her tireless dedication to students and “ebullient classroom manner,” while Mr. Smith was singled out for his innovative teaching style during the Fall Semester. “Both of these professors were the darlings of our department and the finest examples of the Fulbright spirit,” said Professor Mihalea. The ceremonies were attended by university administration, Fulbright staff officers and Mr. Mark Wentorth, American Embassy Chief of Staff. Dr. Seitz was present, as was Mrs. Sarah Smith, the wife of Professor Smith, who accepted congratulations on his behalf. Professor Smith could not attend due to a previous comittment.

Most Rev. Dr. Chrysostomos
Executive Director
U.S. Fulbright Commission in Romania
Str. Ing. Nicolae Costinescu, Nr. 2
71277 Bucharest, Sector 1, Romania

commission website: www.usembassy.ro

“The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy — the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something that we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately.” Senator J. William Fulbright